Supreme Court Leaves School's Transgender Bathroom Policy In Place

The high court declined to hear an appeal from students who claimed the policy violated their privacy rights.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to hear an appeal from Pennsylvania students challenging their school’s policy of allowing certain transgender students to use bathrooms and locker rooms corresponding with their gender identity, leaving the policy intact.

The four students and some of their parents, who are not named in the case, claimed that the Boyertown Area School District, about 50 miles northwest of Philadelphia, “did not notify its students or their parents of this change.”

According to their attorneys, the students said that they first learned of it while “undressed in the locker room, they realized they were in the presence of a student of the opposite sex,” arguing that the policy violated their privacy rights.

The school allowed the policy on a “case-by-case basis,” after requiring transgender students seeking permission to use facilities that matched their gender identity “to meet with counselors who were trained and licensed to address these issues,” according to court documents. The counselors often also “consulted with additional counselors, principals, and school administrators” before school officials granted the transgender students the right to use bathrooms and locker rooms corresponding with their gender identity.

The high court’s decision to not advance the case leaves in place a 2017 ruling from a federal judge in Pennsylvania, who denied the students’ claims that their rights to privacy were violated.

A federal appeals court upheld the ruling last summer, determining that “the presence of transgender students in the locker and restrooms” does not “infringe on the plaintiffs’ rights.”

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